South Indian Lamb Curry
It is absolutely no secret how much I adore a good Lamb Curry and it amazes me how many variations there are. This is an Em’s Food version that has the ever present traditional blend of delicious spices as well as peppery curry leaves, fragrant bay and coconut cream that are reminiscent of the South Indian Curry variety. Let us not forget to mention the large chunks of slow cooked lamb shoulder that literally melted in your mouth, the crunchy toasted almond topper, and the cooling yoghurt that completed this curry Nirvana. Sheesh, my mouth is watering.
To keep the price down, I buy a boned shoulder roast, trim the excess fat and cut it into largish chunks. You would be surprised at the mark up on meat if someone has to prep it for you and I often find the dice is way too small. I want a mouthful of lamb, not a morsel!
Prep time: 30 Minutes Cooking time: 2-2.5 Hours $$ Medium Budget
11/2 tbs of ghee* or 1 tbs of butter and 1 tbs of olive oil
800gm of diced lamb shoulder (the larger the chunks the better in my book)
1 brown onion, halved and sliced top to bottom
4cm piece of ginger, grated
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves, stalks removed and discarded
3 fresh bay leaves
7 cardamom pods, bruised with the flat of your knife
11/2 tsp of fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp of turmeric
1/2-1 tsp of chilli powder (depending on your fire rating)
1 tbs of ground coriander
1 tbs of ground cumin
400gm tin of cherry tomatoes (diced are fine if you can’t get them)
1 cup of water
250ml of coconut cream
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp of sugar
Sea salt and Cracked Pepper
1 bag of baby spinach
1/2 a bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks roughly chopped, some reserved for garnish
Greek yoghurt for dolloping
1/4 cup of toasted slivered Almonds
Poppadoms & brown or white basmati rice to serve
Heat a large heavy based pot and melt the Ghee or butter and olive oil until bubbling. Add the onion and fry for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the curry leaves, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and fennel seeds to the pan and fry until aromatic, approximately 1-2 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and lamb pieces and fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously until the lamb is lightly browned. Add the turmeric, chilli, coriander and cumin and again, stir to coat the lamb in all the spices. Your kitchen should be smelling pretty awesome by now.
Pour the water, lemon juice and tomatoes into the pot, season with salt, pepper and sugar and mix to combine. Tear off a piece of baking paper and tuck it down, right on top of the lamb. This will stop any steam escaping and keep the lamb meltingly tender. Place a lid on and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 1.5 – 2 hours, stirring periodically. The lamb is ready when it pulls apart really easily.
Remove the lid and baking paper and stir through the coconut cream. Continue simmering with the lid off for a further 30 minutes before stirring through the baby spinach and coriander and allowing it to wilt for a minute or so.
Serve the curry with rice and top with a dollop of yoghurt, a sprinkling of slivered almonds, the remaining coriander leaves and poppadoms.
*Ghee is a clarified butter that can be found in the Indian section of the supermarket. It gives your curries the most amazing flavour!